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Say It Hurts

Available at and Ingram

Cover & Interior Design: Alban Fischer

Author photo: Jane Hartung

$18  |  ISBN 978-1-936919-86-4

Poetry  l  Perfectbound  |  108 pages  |  Jan 2021


About Say It Hurts

Say It Hurts grapples with queerness, love, grief, masculinity, coming of age, and coming out in the context of cultural violence rooted in misogyny and familial violence rooted in catholicism. In these poems joy and loss hold hands—at sleepovers and haircuts, at symphonies and haunted mazes, among fathers, on dating apps, during car sex, in matching tattoos, on Pinterest boards, at funerals. Lisa Summe’s debut collection queers the love poem by demanding that the whole story be told—what it means to love, to grieve, and to heal by saying it out loud.


About Lisa Summe

LISA SUMME is the author of Say It Hurts (YesYes Books, 2021). She earned a BA and MA in literature at the University of Cincinnati and an MFA in poetry from Virginia Tech. Her poems have appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Muzzle, Salt Hill, Waxwing, and elsewhere. You can find her running, playing baseball, or eating vegan pastries in Pittsburgh, PA, on Twitter and Instagram @lisasumme, and at

Say It Hurts

SKU: 2101001
  • In Praise of Say It Hurts

    In Say It Hurts, Summe shows us what it can feel like to come home and come out again and again in the Midwest, home where a father can be “both nest & hawk,” home where a ten-year- old girl draws her dream wedding to a girl on a sheet of graph paper in math class, home where her body stands “steady like a home,” home where she misses the girl she loved and where she swims in the Allegheny River, home where the poem is the place and the girl she loved is there, too.

    Julia Koets, Pine


    Alive with moats of pink catfish, and gardens of boomerangs, Lisa Summe’s debut collection, Say It Hurts, draws us what we need most: new shapes of loss, new contours of love. And because we need it, Summe paints a vibrant queerness onto buzz cuts, backseats, and sleepovers. Forthright and declarative, Summe writes, in the book’s opening poem, “When a lesbian / writes a poem / it’s a lesbian poem.” What a queer wonder, to play light as a feather, stiff as a board. What a queer wonder to be both alive and capable of love, in a world that prefers we be neither. Summe writes, “see how I tried not to write a love poem but here it comes,”and it does come, and we love it.

    —Kayleb Rae Candrilli, Water I Won’t Touch


    Summe's Say It Hurts is a manual for growing up that grown-ups still need. It's both a diary entry and a to-do list, a confessional and a set of instructions. To come of age as a queer person often means spending years trying to find the secret room where you most belong; Summe has taken that room and bulldozed the walls. This book has the answers that, for so long, felt like secrets.

    —Olivia Gatwood, Life of the Party

YesYes Books
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